THESIS: Arriving at Perfection by Benjamin Franklin and The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln can be considered as the examples of reflections on the essential wisdom to be deemed.
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I. The personal improvement and unity of nation as the basic aspects of the essays of Franklin and Lincoln
II. Literary techniques of the texts of The Gettysburg Address and Arriving at Perfection as a method of providing more persuasive and comprehensive narration
III. Personal experience in the essay of Franklin and history of the country in the speech of Lincoln as the argumentative ground
The Gettysburg Address is a speech of Abraham Lincoln dedicated to the soldiers of the Civil War in 1863. In the opposite, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay Arriving at Perfection as in order to proclaim that everyone can try to be better.
Both authors emphasize the significance of the everyday reflection, learning, training of memory, respect of the history in order to the personal improvement. The essays of two greatest Presidents can be considered as the examples of reflections on the essential wisdom to be deemed.
Abraham Lincoln’s speech presented in the Gettysburg National Cemetery emphasizes an importance of the national memory, patriotism and bravery. This evocative message tries to consolidate the citizens and their patriotism. In spite of Lincoln, Franklin indicates the personal characteristics’ improvement as a basic method of cultural, social, career development.
Lincoln analyses a capability of the nation, summarizing the consequences of the Civil War. Thus, he writes about a significant characteristic of the nation to “resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain” (Lincoln, 2010, p. 216). The country was in the middle of the Civil War, and the President could understand an importance of the citizens’ consolidation.
For Lincoln, only future victory can be a real method to honor the fallen. In this case, the personal motivation and inspiration connect Lincoln’s speech with Franklin’s essay. Benjamin Franklin writes about his will to improve the personality.
Being a perfectionist, Franklin describes his methods of improving the memory, composing a book with the names and ideas. As Lincoln says about the historical lessons that test the nation, Franklin says about the personal experience and mistakes as a ground that should be analyzed by everyone. Franklin (2010) describes his method of analyzing:
I cross’d these Columns with thirteen red Lines, marking the Beginning of each Line with the first Letter of one of the Virtues, on which Line, and in its proper Column, I might mark, by a little black Spot, every Fault I found upon Examination to have been committed respecting that Virtue upon that Day. (p. 135)
Franklin believed that such planning as a method of progress can help for the self-improvement. Only the rational methods seem Franklin correct and appropriate.
Exploring the literary techniques of the texts of The Gettysburg Address and Arriving at Perfection, it is important to notice that both Presidents use eloquent language. Lincoln uses parallelism and contrast in order to emphasize the most important issues. Thus, he uses the contrast life-death: “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract” (Lincoln, 2010, p. 216). It is an example of the successful use the literary method.
Franklin in his essay uses a range of methods that help arriving more persuasive and comprehensive narration. Trying to show everyone how to improve their lives, Franklin uses straight tone without vague or sarcasm. He knows his goals and says exactly what he means. For instance, he provides a list with the names of virtues and their precepts.
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Obviously, if one wants to show people how to live according to the high moral standards and motivation, it is necessary to use the strict and precise vocabulary and speech patterns.
In case of Lincoln’s speech, the comprehensiveness and precision are also the significant elements. As well as Lincoln wants to persuade people to unite and arouse their patriotism, he appeals to the emotions, using the literary methods as the tools of creating the poetic quality.
An example of the alliteration “poor power” is used in order to honor the brave heroes who died in the Civil War. The words choice such as use of us, we, nation helps Lincoln to show his will to unite the North and South. In ten sentences Lincoln effectively expresses his will to unite the nation, emphasizes a significance of the history and personal reflection, the wisdom to be deemed.
The argumentative ground of the texts is different. Thus, Franklin uses the personal experience, describing the methods created and used by him, while Lincoln’s speech is based on the history of the country. Franklin says that everyone must use one’s mind and talent, improving the life, learning and creating more.
The analysis helps understanding the mistakes and avoiding them in the future. Franklin says: “I wish’d to live without committing any Fault at any time; I would conquer all that either Natural Inclination” (2010, p. 133). Obviously, such way of reflection demonstrates a wise of the President and his reflections of the better results achievement.
For Lincoln, the historical events are the ground of inspiration. He emphasizes a significance of the history in case of the national integration. He supports the arguments connecting the current conflict with the history and indicating the future perspectives of the nation.
Two greatest American Presidents in their essays Arriving at Perfection and The Gettysburg Address provide the examples of reflections on the essential wisdom to be deemed. Using the different literary techniques, both authors emphasize the significance of the personal reflection in order to improve one’s life and to achieve the common goals.
Franklin emphasizes a value of learning, training of memory and analyzing all events, facts and ideas that rise around us. For Lincoln, wisdom can be achieved by learning the history and respecting the national heroes. Obviously, for both authors, wisdom to be deemed is the most important characteristic of the human being, and they provide a clear demonstration of this statement in their essays.
Franklin, B. (2010). Arriving at Perfection. In R. DiYanni (Ed.), Fifty Great Essays (Penguin Academic Series) (4th ed.) (pp. 133-136). US: Longman.
Lincoln, A. (2010). The Gettysburg Address. In R. DiYanni (Ed.), Fifty Great Essays (Penguin Academic Series) (4th ed.) (pp. 215-216). US: Longman.